Symbol for 150 years of friendship between Japan en Belgium shipped from Zeebrugge

Belgium and Japan are celebrating a 150 year long diplomatic relationship this year. As a symbol of this partnership, two statues will be placed in Hanyu, Durbuy’s sister city in Japan. Durbuy has donated two stones from its quarries for these statues. The port of Zeebrugge , International Car Operators Zeebrugge and shipping liner NYK organized the stones’ transportation from Zeebrugge to the port of Yokohama. 

On the first of August 1866, Belgium and Japan have signed a ‘Treaty of Friendship, Trade and Navigation’. As a symbol for this long lasting bond between the two countries, two statues are being made, one by the Belgian artist William Livermore and another by the Japanese artist Kazuoshi Hiraï. Both statues will be placed in the city of Hanyu.

Japanese terminal operator ICO and Japanese shipping liner NYK have contributed their cooperation to ship the stones from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge to Japan, which emphasizes the bond between the two countries. The statues’ stones weigh about 1,5 tonnes and have left the port of Zeebrugge today on board of the ship ‘Iris Leader’, an NYK car carrier with a capacity of 6.800 vehicles.

“The port of Zeebrugge has a strong relation with Japan. There are Japanese shipping companies active in Zeebrugge, Japanese stevedores and Japanese production plants: Toyota, NYK, Toyofuji, Mitsui, K Line, KESS, UECC, Bridgestone, Sumitomo, Meiko, Daikin, AGC Glass, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Suzuki, Nissan, etc. Forty percent of the vehicles handled in Zeebrugge are Japanese.” Joachim Coens, CEO Port of Zeebrugge